My time draws to an end here at the farm. The anticipation to leave wanes the closer it gets. The closer I get to know the people here, and the more I appreciate everything here. My experience here has been one of growing, both in knowledge of farming and in my spiritual life and the whole ‘growing up’. I’m still referred to as a ‘boy’ and I started to get a little annoyed but then thought, isn’t that what I still want to be? Why should I push to become a man, it ‘happens’ soon enough. I don’t want to loose my humor, my wit (did I ever have one?) the stuff I do as a ‘boy’ I still want to do as a ‘man’. I don’t want to become a serious man who now does manly things, but rather a man who still embraces life full on, enjoys life, lives for Christ, and knows how to have a good time and crack jokes. I don’t want to have a dramatic change from boy to man, I believe you can maintain responsibility and humor at the same time.
I’ve learned a lot here, about myself. A little more who I am, what I want to be, and how I want to be when around others. I’m going to miss this life here. Sure it’s hard work, sure at times you don’t want to do it, but you have to, you don’t have a choice. When you’re working with animals you have chores you do them twice a day or your animals die. That’s life on a farm, you will be tied down it’s a commitment, and you have to be ready to do it. You can’t be gone for more than 12 hours at a time because chickens need feeding, goats need milking, pigs are hungry. But it’s good honest work, you can see the immediate results of what you do. You plants seeds, you see them sprout, you harvest your vegetables and see the result after they’ve been in the kitchen with a chef for an hour. You taste what you grow, life and food have more meaning. I’ve noticed that when I started milking the goats. It meant more to me when I had to milk the goats, I had to milk in order to drink or use the milk. I could see the result of milking. Same with vegetables. You see the progress of a small little transplant and in six weeks it has leaves 16 inches long and you’re harvesting the leaves and eating them. You see the pigs born and raised and eventually taken to the butcher and then you eat the meat. You see life from beginning to end on a farm, it’s not a meaningless box on a shelf that you heat up in a microwave, where you’re so distanced from your food you don’t know what a chicken looks like. You see the immediate results of what you do, that is farming. I like that, it brings more meaning to what you eat. Are you willing to kill the chicken in order to eat? For one to live another must die. I don’t enjoy killing animals, I respect the animals, but I will kill them in order to eat them. This is life here on this side of heaven
I’ve lived here long enough that it is familiar enough to feel like another home. The surrounding area I’ve grown accustomed to and I’ve spent so many hours all around the farm.
Today I saw a hawk try to carry off a chicken unsuccessfully, it was a first. The turkey has finally gotten bold enough to try and attack me more than once. The geese are now annoying enough for me to want them for Christmas, they squawk so loudly you have to yell to be heard when you are within talking distance of someone. The pigs are growing so fast almost a pound a day. The chickens are laying well again (have you ever seen a chicken lay an egg?). The goats, I’ve learned to tame them (have you ever tasted it fresh from the teet?). I can move the cows from paddock to paddock (ever been charged by a cow, or knocked over?). I’ve learned to make the most of what you have on hand, to make do with what you have. Whatever is growing is what’s going to be cooking.
So here I sit, quarter till 9pm. Eggplant Parmesan in the making, been in the works since this afternoon. It was the first time Jether made it, and he had to make sourdough bread for bread crumbs, and he’s not as fast a cook as me. I have two more days here and then I’m home. I’m ready to be home though, I have plans for a coffee CSC (Consumer Supported Coffee) and a vegetables CSA when I get back. I am ready to work in my own garden and be home, with my family. I’m ready for the normal life though, I feel kind of like Sam at Rivendell, I’ve seen the Elves, I’ve had my adventures, but now I’m ready to go home now. I’m ready to go on, as Sam was, but I’m glad I’m going home and don’t have a journey as hard as Sam’s ahead of me, at least not yet. He was a brave one, Sam, wasn’t he dad? Oh yes he was son, a braver hobbit you’ll never find.